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Review Mon Apr 06 2015

New American Cuisine with Old Theme at Southport & Irving

rabbit and grits.jpgNestled on the corner of Southport and Irving, somewhere near Wrigley Field, is a low-key neighborhood restaurant with upscale taste. Named directly after the intersection, Southport & Irving (SIP) serves new American cuisine with a whimsical historical theme.

The food has a feel somewhere between upscale and rustic. The offerings are familiar and hearty, but composed and complex enough to remind you that you couldn't make it at home. The menu--ordered from smaller to larger portions-- is succinct, with familiar global flairs like chimmichurri and kimchi. The lack of additional headers and subtitles (small plates, shared plates, large plates, mini plates) was refreshing, as the menu assumed I was perfectly capable to deciding whether to share my food or not.

chicken.jpgI was underwhelmed by the "appetizers"--the poblano and cheddar grits, flanked by lobster, ham, and bacon morsels, was overly savory with nothing sweet or sour to balance out the richness. The rabbit leg confit with the sweet parsnip puree was better, though a bit stringy and lacking in salt. Fortunately, the larger portion entrees tasted far better. The scallops were seared with a beautiful char, accompanied by an impossibly smooth sweet potato puree. The marinated hanger stank was flavorful, juicy and surprisingly malleable for its cut, and the fried sweetbreads on the side were equally delicious. The roasted Gunthorp chicken was easily the night's favorite; the intensely savory meat reminded everyone that chicken actually had a flavor.

Dessert options were interesting: blue cheese beignets, elderflower crème brulee, and sponge cake tiramisu with pistachio and coca nib. We tried the roasted pear and Gianduja chocolate pudding, but it tasted like an apple pie yogurt parfait. We actually wondered if we received the correct order, but it tasted delicious, and of course, it was all gone before anyone could really protest.

SIPinside.jpgSouthport and Irving has its hits and a few misses, but for the most part, hits. The quality of the food is excellent, and execution just needs a slight improvement. The restaurant has an opulent, '20s vibe, and there's live jazz three days a week on Fridays and weekends. The music is a bonus, but I could just go for the food.

4000 N. Southport Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60613
773-857-2890

 
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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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Drive-Thru is the food and drink section of Gapers Block, covering the city's vibrant dining, drinking and cooking scene. More...
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Editor: Robyn Nisi, rn@gapersblock.com
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